Audi A7 3.0 TDI Quattro SE S tronic (2012) review

Published:05 July 2012

Audi A7 3.0 TDI Quattro SE S tronic (2012) review
  • At a glance
  • 3 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 5 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5

By Anthony ffrench-Constant

Contributing editor, architect, sentence constructor, amuse bouche

By Anthony ffrench-Constant

Contributing editor, architect, sentence constructor, amuse bouche

Seven years in the making, the largely flawless Audi A6’s only failing is that it seeks to appeal to the broadest possible customer spectrum by being so utterly anonymous that it is, frankly, almost too anonymous. A perfectly decent drive albeit, it’s far more of a technological tour de force than anything of a thrill to helm, having rifled the A8’s on-board equipment parts bin so rigorously that the only reason to now buy the latter is a requirement for greater cabin space.

My only other criticism of the car is that the specimen I drove was presented with an interior finished in a deep chocolate brown, which made me feel as if I was spending time inside someone’s bottom every time I climbed aboard. Albeit a very well appointed bottom…

Audi A7: the best-looking Audi on sale?

Its looks marred only by the size of the front grille, the A7 is the best looking car Audi has produced since the entirely handsome A5 Coupe, and is notably gorgeous when viewed from anywhere astern. On board, all is exactly where you left it in your last Audi, which means it’s extremely well screwed together, good looking, ergonomically excellent and properly comfortable. The only glitch being the propensity for a pale beige coloured parcel shelf to reflect so strongly in the steeply raked rear screen that you absolutely cannot see out by day…

As with the more recent A6, technology is all important, and the A7 may be loaded to the gunwales with diverse multimedia interface systems which, with such goodies as the inclusion of web links to Google, will turn the car into little short of a fully-functioning mobile office. Personally, I can think of little worse than escaping the office to go for a drive in a car which doubles as an office, but many will surely find such a facility invaluable.

Audi does tend to overload its press cars with toys; in the case of the 3.0 TDI Quattro SE S tronic I drove, to the tune of some £25,775 over the basic asking price of £47,200. You pays yer money….

Driving the Audi A7

A head-up display which fills the base of the windscreen with information such as speed and navigation instructions annoyed me terribly until I discovered how to switch it off. At which point I missed it so much I promptly reinstated it. Suggesting that you can, however, have too much of a good thing, a fiddly seat massage control system proved even more annoying, relentlessly pummelling my already perfectly comfortable anatomy every time I tried to merely adjust the lumbar support.

Most expensive by far of the options fitted was a Bang & Olufsen sound system which demands a wallet-fleecing £6300 for the privilege of watching the tweeters ooze ICBM-like from the dash top every time you start the car. Granted, the sound is wonderful, but no more so than the far less pricey Mark Levinson systems of Lexus fame.

If, as is now often averred, we’re becoming increasingly more interested in on-board ‘infotainment’ than we are the actual driving experience, then it’s high time many of these expensive options were fitted as standard in premium models such as this. And, buying an A7, I’d be particularly miffed to discover that the £590 delivery and number plate charge includes only ‘half a tank of fuel’. Now that’s just petty.

The 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel A7

With 367 lb.ft of torque summoning 62mph in just 6.3 seconds, it goes without saying that Audi’s silky 3.0 V6 turbodiesel provides pretty much all the thrust you could ever wish for, and the 7-speed automatic transmission is slush personified. However, despite the fitted option of adaptive suspension, the straight line ride is too tough to be deemed appropriate to a cabin which aspires to these high levels of comfort.

Protestations of over tough ride quality remain the norm in the case of most Audi’s, and the company seems reluctant to pander to (presumably largely British) requests to soften their approach on this front. A pity, since it often mars the increasingly sublime Audi experience.

Specs

Price when new: £44,440
On sale in the UK:
Engine: 2967cc V6 TD, 204bhp @ 3750rpm, 295lb ft @ 1250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Performance: 0-62mph 7.4sec, 146mph, 55.4mpg, 135g/km
Weight / material: 1695kg/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4969/1911/1420

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  • Audi A7 3.0 TDI Quattro SE S tronic (2012) review
  • Audi A7 3.0 TDI Quattro SE S tronic (2012) review
  • Audi A7 3.0 TDI Quattro SE S tronic (2012) review
  • Audi A7 3.0 TDI Quattro SE S tronic (2012) review
  • Audi A7 3.0 TDI Quattro SE S tronic (2012) review

By Anthony ffrench-Constant

Contributing editor, architect, sentence constructor, amuse bouche

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